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Lost theatres of Ipswich to be memorialised in new Venue design

The completed Venue development in Ipswich’s city centre, set to become the city’s newest cinema and entertainment hub, will pay tribute to Ipswich’s long history of picture theatres through its brick and art deco design themes.

New renders released by Ipswich City Council today reveal what residents can expect when the Venue project is completed and opened to the public next year.

Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Chairperson and Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle said the finalised design echoed themes of white walls, exposed brick, and open, welcoming spaces from theatres long gone.

“The Wintergarden, the Ritz – for many Ipswich residents decades ago these theatre names were familiar and beloved, their beautiful architecture and elegant theatres showcasing the best of Ipswich architecture and heritage,” Cr Doyle said.

“As Hutchinson Builders progress work to refurbish the Venue building to become home to HOYTS, it’s fitting that this work is completed on the site of the former Wintergarden Theatre, paying tribute to the white walls and exposed brick heritage of that iconic cinema.

“This major redevelopment will be the pinnacle of Nicholas Street Precinct, replacing what was once the Birch, Carroll & Coyle cinema building.

“After decades of the city centre being left to languish, this council is focused on giving our residents their city’s heart back.”

The two-level Venue building will not just be home to HOYTS but will also offer a host of new restaurants and entertainment options for Ipswich residents.

“This exciting project has had its challenges, but council is committed to revitalising our city’s centre with fresh, varied attractions for all residents,” Cr Doyle said.

“Ipswich has undergone so many iterations over its 163 years, from the sorry loss of heritage in the 1970s and 1980s to our present focus on creating a beautiful, diverse city centre with options for dining, recreation, entertainment and education.

“Venue is anticipated to be completed by mid-2024, and these new images provide Ipswich with the first hint of what is to come.”

HOYTS will move into Venue next year as the flagship tenant after council finalised an agreement with the cinema company in late 2022.

The Nicholas Street Precinct, including Venue, is estimated to achieve a total direct contribution of $1.196 billion to Ipswich between 2020 and 2032, according to an economic analysis report commissioned by council.

At the May ordinary council meeting, council acknowledged a $15 million contract variation needed for uncovered repair works, including a collapsed sewer, issues with significant variations in the ground floor slab, and the need to bring the tiered seating in the cinema boxes up to current industry standards.

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